πŸšΆβ€β™€οΈStoic Walks

A few years ago, in the late summer of 2017, I started using the free website Coach.me because at the time I wanted to be a life coach. I didn’t end up becoming a life coach professionaly, although I was successful with all three of my test clients it was more draining than it was worth for me. Yet in the end I did become a life coach for myself and kids, which is important in it’s own right. Anyways the point is I found and joined a community of stoics via the “Stoic Quote of the Day” Habit.

I think I may have become interested after reading “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck,” by Mark Manson, or maybe I had always had stoic tendencies. Early on in my marriage my husband attacked my stoic behaviour, it could have been because he is very reactive and passionate that he didn’t appreciate me showing him his behaviour was his choice not mandatory or simply because he was hurt by something else or because it’s hard not to be afraid of differences, but for some time I was ashamed to be who I was because my husband insulted me. Over time I got over caring what my husband thought, even though we are still together and happier now I care very little about what he thinks, because he thinks very quicklyy without any fact checking. I respect my husbands right to an opinion, his feelings, his hard work, who he is, but no longer what he thinks and that has allowed me happiness and well being I didn’t have when I did care what he thought.

A modern definition of a stoic by Nassim Nicholas Taleb “A Stoic is someone who transforms fear into prudence, pain into transformation, mistakes into initiation, and desire into undertaking.” It’s not how the mainstream portays them which I think is just an accidental placement of “Spartan” steriotypes onto “Stoics” because they are both from Ancient Greece.

What I would say is that stoicsm is how to prevent other people’s problems and baggage from weighing you down so much you can no longer see the beauty of life nor feel empowered to be the archatect of your own inner and outer worlds.

“7 Habits of Highly Succesful People” and “9 Habits of a Hands Free Life” are stoic books that don’t use the term stoic. “7 Habits of Highly Succesful People” introduces proactivity, the instant after something happens where you can choose how to view the event and what to do (or blindly react) and “9 Habits of a Hands Free Life” deals with being mindfully aware of unpleasant truths without being crippled by the real and valid negativity of life.

So besides those books I also read the classics, “Meditations,” “Ego is the Enemy,” ext. “Meditations” was a special book, it was a diary, never intended to be published. It was the Roman Emporer Marcus Aurelius’ personal workbook of him trying to live by stoic quotes/stoic philosophy from Epictetus (a slave and great philosopher) and others such as Seneca (a roman senetor forced to commit suicide due to regime change). “Meditations” seems like a blog straight out of modern life, the problems in it are timeless (or at least still happen to me).

This quote from “Meditations:” reminds me of many coworkers I’ve had, “Betimes in the morning say to thyself, this day I shalt have to do with an idle curious man, with an unthankful man, a railer, a crafty, false, or an envious man; an unsociable uncharitable man. All these ill qualities have happened unto them, through ignorance of that which is truly good and truly bad.” – Marcus Aurelius

There are 50 quotes in the Coach.me Stoic Quote of the Day list that repeat, as I’ve read them I’ve also questioned their validity (finding a handful seemingly invalid) and tried them all via tiny habit action plans for real life. So the quotes were not just quotes, they were meditations, ideas, actions to try, and for the most part became habits.

I happened to take a free personality test before (years ago) and after (yesterday) these past two years of stoic meditation, I have the same personality, but am 6% more open minded, 17% more mindful, 15% more outgoing, 26% nicer, 13% more willing to improve myself.

I’m still the same person (the olympian) yet more than twice as nice as before. That has really helped me form better connections in my family, marriage and deeper connections with my friends.

My rotine is to wake up, check email, play Sims Freeplay (send everyone to work since the game works in real time), open my agenda (Habitca), set my intention while reading my first habitca daily task:

“INTELLECTION: Create My Own Reality Consciously
“I chose to be grateful to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy… ” Therefore I should live my best life possible, which is to mālama pono by:

  1. Being forthright and proactive. (Responsible)
  2. Examining life. (Input)
  3. Helpful restore balance. (Resolver)
  4. Clarify complicated things. (Intellection)
  5. Live stoically (Learn) https://www.coach.me/dashboard,”

and do my Stoic Quote of the Day Meditation (via link above in bold copied from my Habitca dashboard).

I’ve done stoic meditations as a workbook with this format (adapted from the Life Values Inventory self leadership for values based living formula)

🍁 Stoic Quote X 🍁
πŸ“˜ Input: β€œY” πŸ“πŸπŸ•
πŸ’‘ Intellection: I think Z.
πŸ› οΈ Responsibility: Serenity or proactivity?
πŸŽ‰ Resolution: I’m celebrating that A.
🐒 Learning: I’m learning B.

Three hundred and twelve times over the past thee years, which is about six cycles of the fifty quotes and although I still don’t have the quotes memorized, I have their meaning in my mind and can often (not always) live by them in daily life.

I have a daughter and she loves the remake of Mr. Roger’s Neighboorhood “Daniel Tiger’s Neighboorhood.” I wasn’t happy about her watching TV at first, but I was suprised to find it’s also a source of stoic philosophy. The first episode the cartoon tiger’s dad explains “when something seems bad, turn it around and find something good.” The second episode says “when we do something new, let’s talk about what we’ll do.” That’s in essence stoic philosophy, it’s not saying keep something that “is bad,” just question mentally what “seems bad,” and talking about new ideas is in essence entertaining ideas and stoic meditation.

Yesterday after two years of stoic meditation I felt I knew enough to start discussing the quotes with ny daughter. We went for a walk in the windy fall day and holding hands she repeated the first quote twice and we discussed what it meant:

“While we are postponing, life speeds by. Nothing … is ours, except time.”

– Seneca

The way I explained it was “opportunity cost,” my daughter picked to walk to the 98c Store so we didn’t go to the track (which she also loves). I also explained if she had many dino toys and no time to play with them it would be as if she had none, she seemed to understand well. It made me wonder if I give her enough time to play or not? As I try to teach her reading, math, music, art I hope that I always remember to leave time to play, as draumatic play is said to stimulate the brain the most. I don’t want to force down information at the cost of handicapping the organ that is supposed to be the master of that information, not the slave.

First I read the stoic quotes, then I thought about it, then I started writing about it, then I started talking about it with my family and friends, now I’m talking the talk and walking the walk.

⭐ Life Improvement Project Week 4

This is the fourth week with the new second system, it’s the first time I’ve been five days late, but it’s also kind of the most important time because I’m adjusting instead of quitting. Today I retook a personality test (Who Am I?) from visualdna.com and got the same result as a few years ago, the Olympian, but my big five scores (openness, neuroticism, extroversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness) have changed. It was interesting to track the changes over a few years. Getting the same personality overall made the test seem more legitimate to me. I gave my daughter the test also and because it was pictures based she was able to take it even though she is only four. It was really helpful getting an idea of who she is now, even if it changes later, who she is now is the person I have to live with and teach right now. I’d love to know what any of the readers get for the “Who Am I” test just to see, it was a quick test if you have time please comment which personality you are and if it seems right for you?

Na Kanaka (Human Kind):

Life Time Goal: Live with Humility, Authenticity, Mindfulness

Using: Learner Strength (I’m still a bit rude in my daily life, but I can learn to replace that habit. I actually got data from visualdna.com that I went up from 24% nice to 50% nice, ie agreeableness, that’s a great improvement! Mostly due to the advice from “Never Split the Difference,” and “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”), Input Strength (I can swallow my pride, take advice and learn from others, I got data from visualdna.com that my open-mindedness, ie openness, went up from 90%-96% I think from techniques from “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.”).

Large Practice: Assertive Communication

Tiny Plan: Become grateful and use problems as a time to connect with other people.

☐ Gratitude Challenge – “I lost my gratitude and lost my happiness, what happened was that my daughter had her fourth birthday (which is fine), she had a multiweek extravaganza that put everyone else’s life on hold temporarily (which is fine), but because there was so much stuff to do I started rushing (which is a huge problem) and rushing made me lose my gratitude and when I lost it I lost all my sincere enjoyment of life. So I spent nine days without gratitude and got more and more dissatisfied, until today I said “no more, I’m not going to live a life I hate when I am the only one in charge of myself,” and I thought about what my goals, responsibilities, and ways to have fun were, my daughter’s and sons goals, responsibilities and ways to have fun and I made action plans to allow us to work towards all those things. My goals from half past the hour to 40 minutes, my daughter from 50 past to the new hour, my son from 10 minutes past to 20 minutes the hour past, a break from 20 minutes past to half past the hour, flex time from the new hour to 10 minutes past, regular life ie cleaning or household duties from 40 minutes past to 50 minutes past. Since having two kids I’ve felt like it was impossible to focus on anything or make time for myself, this system I just made isn’t rigorous but it helps me focus mentally. Sure if my baby cries when it’s time to teach piano to the older kid I still pick him up, yet without making time for the older child I didn’t know when to have music time, now it’s 3:50-4PM, which is fine for her age (4). Now we have a designated time to meet her three goals of learning reading, music, and drawing and time for my three goals of doing my daily stoic meditation, writing, and my new “good things today” gratitude list. I wrote a few things to be grateful for on a piece of paper when I came home today, my daughter did as well, something about the walk got me out of a mental funk of me feeling like a victim because we had a leak that made our house moldy and I haven’t been making any time for the things I like to do, since I felt like I couldn’t (which wasn’t true). Gratitude for bad things is possible, but gratitude for good things was an easier way to get back into being grateful. One reason I may have gotten off my good habit so easily is that “neurons that fire together wire together,” meaning I was grateful in Hawaii and I left to California where I lived ungratefully for 33 years, so being back there fired my ungrateful memories of being and I kind of have to completely restart again. Like a drug addict who was clean in rehab, but struggled back in “the old neighboorhood” I have to learn new associations for the place I am living. I am completely motivated to restart though because gratitude gave me a window into a kind of true happiness and joy that I hadn’t experienced before and it’s totally worth the struggle of restarting the challenge. I am grateful that I found the challenge to begin with, that I practiced in Hawaii where it was easier, that I noticed that I fell off and was honest and that I have a plan on how to live a better life without feeling overwhelmed so I can start the challenge again here.”

πŸ—Ή Look Up – “Going well, when I first unpacked things were bad and rushed and the birthday week was bad, but throughout things being bad I noticed they were bad, that I was rushing and unaware and missing out on my kids growing up and I was constantly checking myself to try harder.”

πŸ—Ή Look In – “Surprisingly going well, when I vent to my husband about the things I don’t like in my life I wonder about him, how hard he works to give me this life that isn’t what I want still… and how he is doing in general because I am so busy with our two kids and myself that I don’t even usually know or ask, but this last week I have been thinking about how he is and asking, maybe not enough, but more than before. “

πŸ—Ή Connect with Other Humans – “Going well, I’ve been thinking of service people as people instead of as something like furniture that’s just there to be used, haven’t been talking a lot more to them, but just saying thank you and meaning it and thinking of differently.”

πŸ—Ή Read books or Articles – “Article of the week is: “Solange’s Subliminal Messages Expounding My Present Life.” by Nomz, it was very interesting, I love the way her writing ties together really complicated, deep parts of being human in creative ways. I’ve felt music describe my life before, I think we all do, but I’ve never read it tied together in the way that it was in this article. For the past two years after reading “Happiness is Not Enough” by Mark Manson I’ve been doing art projects related to emotional diversity, but this article is the first time I’ve read an article that addresses the interplay of emotions that take place on a given week vs just one emotion.

☐ Radical Acceptance – “I was so resistant to reality and so entitled about the bad things that happened to me being “unacceptable” instead of accepting that “what is” is and I need to face reality, own my dissatisfaction and take actions of change.”

☐ See problems as opportunities. – “I wanted to, but couldn’t manage it this week.”

πŸ—Ή Respectful, Treating People as Human. – “Going well.”

Ke Akua (Spirituality):

Life Time Goal: Live with Serenity, Proactivity

Using: Intellection Strength

Large Practice: Kaizen, Kon Mari, Minimalism

Tiny Plan: Keep decluttering.

πŸ—Ή Malama Pono – Be forthright and proactive in your life. – “Going well, I sent an email to the principle of a school for my daughter and told her the truth about our living situation, six months in her state and six months out of state and she was helpful and supportive.”

πŸ—Ή Walk Away from Anger, Ego, Hate, Fear, Clinging to the Past. – “Walked away from fear that my son will be messed up emotionally if I let him cry a little to take care of myself or his sister and then get back to him, I don’t have a choice, but even if I did, now I believe in his strength to grow his ability to handle frustration or find ways to comfort himself.”

πŸ—Ή Boldly Celebrate Yourself – “I drew my goals, responsibilities, and things I do for fun, that was a really cool way to celebrate myself a little bit.”

πŸ—Ή Creative Endeavors: Brainstorming, Drawing, Painting, Sculpting, Writing, Architecture. – “Going well, about to finish two projects tomorrow.”

☐ Create your own reality consciously. – “Tried, but failed last week.”

☐ Have no expectations, but rather, abundant expectancy. “Tried, but failed last week.”

Ka ‘Aina (That Which Nourishes):

Life Time Goal: Perseverance

Using: Responsibility Strength

Large Practice: Permaculture Gardening, Martial Arts, Stoic Living

Tiny Plan: Teach martial arts in the non-growth season, farm in the spring and summer. Stoic Quote of the Day (tidy up the farm this coming week).

☐ Aloha Κ»Δ€ina – “Not well, sprouted tomatoes, but neglected them and they died.”

☐ Be the Change you Want to See Happen Instead of Trying to Change Anyone Else. – “Tried, but failed last week.”

πŸ—Ή Let People Help You/Provide Others with Opportunities to Give – “I accepted help with my daughter’s birthday.”

Lōkahi (Harmony/Life Balance):

Life Time Goal: Resilience

Using: Resolver Strength

Large Practice: Self Leadership

Tiny Plan: Keep working with this Life Improvement System

☐ Communicate and Illuminate Healing Reunite that Which has Been Broken into Unity, and Awareness (in Short, to Renew) – “Tried, but failed last week.”

πŸ—Ή Set Weekly Goals – “Yes, here. Late, but not never.”

πŸ—Ή Take Daily Steps Toward Achieving those Goals – “I did, but the goals were stale.”

πŸ—Ή Errands, Cleaning, Paying Bills on Time – “Going well, but maybe at too high a cost.”

☐ Money: Keep Careful Track of Your Income and Expenses. – “Did a little, but not much.”

The New System First Week Review:

13 Points of 22 Points = 59% this week, that feels right, the week felt horrible. It makes sense that not living my values or achieving my goals would feel horrible.

Thank you reader you honor me by making the time to read this, for sharing this journey with me! 🌻